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Fresh-to-market works headline Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Art sale in Hong Kong
Yayoi Kusama (b.1929), Pumpkin, 1982, Acrylic on wood, 33 x 29.5 x 21cm (HK$1,500,000-2,500,000). Photo: Bonhams.

HONG KONG.- Yayoi Kusama, Richard Lin, Yu Youhan, and Chen Yifei are among the line-up of formidable Asian artists featured in Bonhams forthcoming Modern and Contemporary Art auction on 26 November in Hong Kong.

Yayoi Kusama (b.1929) Infinity-Net 1959 headlines the sale and is expected to fetch between HK$3,000,000 and HK$5,000,000. Executed circa 1979, Infinity-Net 1959 represents a rare body of paintings rendered in her most celebrated style. This lot is a testament to Yayoi Kusama’s remarkable sense of control brought forward by the act of obsessive repetition. Appearing on the market for the first time, the present work comes from a private collection in Japan.

As seen in the present work, the repetitive black dots on the bright yellow pumpkin are rhythmic and controlled, which extend to the stem, then scatter into the interior of the box and continue to spread infinitely to all sides of the exterior. Representative of Kusama’s highly stylized pumpkin box sculptures from a unique period, the present work exudes a child-like joyful presence, highlighting the unpretentious and pure quality of pumpkins that resonated deeply with Kusama ever since her first encounter with a pumpkin.

Following the first European retrospective exhibition of the work of the renowned Taiwan born minimalist artist, Richard Lin (1933-2011) at Bonhams Bond Street gallery earlier this month, three works from the artist are presented in the Hong Kong sale. Pieces include two sourced directly from the artist’s estate – Painting Relief (1961) estimated at HK$1,000,000-2,000,000 and Untitled (The Black Sun) (1958-1960) estimated at HK$850,000-1,250,000. The third piece, Untitled (1967), is estimated at HK$650,000-850,000 and comes from the Collection of Peter Clapham Estate, an artist who was also represented by Marlborough Gallery in 1960s.

Painting Relief, was executed in 1961 and is archetypal of Richard Lin’s most sought after “White Series.” The work exists between a painting and sculpture, displaying Lin’s awareness of materials and influences heavily imbedded in his architectural background. Lin transcends what is initially a flat pictorial plane into a three-dimensional structure of contemplation that is powerful and infinite.

Untitled (The Black Sun), from 1958-1960 is representative of Lin’s earlier works, characterized by experiments with Chinese ink and wash methods, combined with his distinctive choice of black and Persian blue pigments. This impressive painting offers a rare glimpse into Lin’s early creative process and experimentation with geometric forms and color, which remained as a central theme in his oeuvre as seen in Painting Relief.

Acquired directly from Richard Lin, the present work has remained in Peter Clapham’s private collection throughout his lifetime. Appearing on the market for the very first time, Untitled from 1967 is archetypal of Lin’s most sought-after quintessential white canvases, with a distinguished provenance.

Additional highlights in the sale include:

A work by master of Chinese Romantic Realism Chen Yifei (1946-2005), Clarinet Player is an amalgamation of both Eastern and Western art influences. Rendered in exquisite detail, Chen captures the musician’s distinct expression and enlivens the composition through a technical mastery of dark and light, constructing a vivid and theatrical scene.

Yu Youhan (b. 1943) began a series of landscape paintings after visiting the Yimeng Mountains in 2002 with his colleagues of the Shanghai Art and Design Academy. Inspired by the serenity of nature and kindness of the locals, Yu described life in Yimeng as “what life was like before we had been alienated, when we were pure of mind” (the artist in an interview with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, ‘Yu Youhan: Abstract, Concrete’,, 2009)

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